Mozzarella fritta con pesto limone

June 14, 2010
Author Notes

E passata di cottura - ‘The cooking has passed’. It means the essence of the food is gone. Like with Carbonara not immediately eaten, or risotto after its perfunctory 'stand-still' at the end - any longer and the fresh, silky flavours are gone.
That should not happen with this recipe: the kids must be at the table, as well as the adults, hands washed, ready to tuck in.The pesto sits to one side, plates are warm and the salad bowl is full of green leaves, right next to the slices or torn bits of ciabatta. Everything must be ready for the eating of these delish fritters.
Moving on, I have a lot to thank Jamie Oliver for, most notably the ease with which I make pesto, knocking it together in my mortar and pestle in 5 minutes flat. This is my recipe however, using flaked almonds and microplaned lemon zest, because I can't stand pinenuts. - Kitchen Butterfly
Kitchen Butterfly

Test Kitchen Notes

It's hard not to love warm, gooey, oozy, stretchy cheese with a crispy coating. The basil and lemon add lots of fresh flavor. Eat immediately, mixing and matching lemon, basil, cheese, pesto and bread in whatever combinations you like. - Stephanie
—The Editors

  • Serves 4
  • Mozzarella fritta con pesto limone
  • 200g Fresh Mozarella (I used a log), cut into 8 thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons panko (or coarse breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • Olive oil, to shallow fry
  • Lemon pesto (recipe below)
  • Lemon zest and basil leaves, to garnish
  • Slices of Italian bread, to serve
  • Pesto Limone (Lemon Pesto)
  • A handful of basil leaves, washed and shaken to rid excess water
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons flaked almonds, dry-roasted
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup (extra virgin) olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (I used my microplane)
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Mozzarella fritta con pesto limone
  2. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix well and set in a wide plate. Dip each piece of mozzarella in the seasoned flour, on both sides.
  3. Follow by placing floured cheese rounds in the egg, turning over so both sides are dipped then finish off by crumbing in the panko.
  4. Set a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and gently heat then place the breaded cheese rounds, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
  5. Let each side fry for 1-2 minutes till golden. Flip over and repeat on the other side.
  6. Remove and serve immediately with lemon pesto and extra strips of lemon zest
  1. Pesto Limone (Lemon Pesto)
  2. Put the basil leaves and garlic clove in a mortar and pound well till leaves are soft and bruised and garlic is crushed.
  3. Add the almonds to the mortar and with a circular motion of the pestle, crush them….. to bits.
  4. Using a spoon, add a tablespoon of the Parmesan and then loosen with some of the oil. Add more Parmesan, follow this with more oil, till you have the consistency you like. I like mine fairly loose so I tend to add more oil. When you have the consistency you like, add the lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice then salt to taste. Stir well and set aside.
  5. (If using a food processor, you’ll need to drizzle the oil in and that’s one area you have to watch out for if you’re using extra virgin olive oil as it contains bitter tasting polyphenols coated by fatty acids, which prevent them from dispersing. If the oil is emulsified in a food processor, these polyphenols get squeezed out and the liquid mix turns bitter ( as read here:

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For the first 9 years of my life I hated food and really loved sugar till Wimpy (British Fast Food chain) changed my life! These days, all grown up, I've junked junk food and spend my days and nights on a quest - to find and share the sweet, sweet nectar that's food in The #NewNigerianKitchen! Dreaming, cooking, eating and writing...about and adoring a strong food community that's big and bold enough to embrace the world's diverse cuisines - I'm passionate about celebrating Nigerian cuisine in its entirety. Why do I love food so? It is forgiving. Make a recipe. Have it go bad....but wake up tomorrow and you can have another go at succeeding! Only with food!